Harbor Freight Tools To Consider Keeping On Hand In Case Of A Home Emergency

Depending on where you live, power outages can happen a couple dozen times a year (and you handle them with aplomb), while a true home emergency is a flood separating you from coffee. In other areas, you might have stacks of plywood for hurricane-proofing your windows and a bag that stays packed six months a year. Whatever constitutes an emergency in your neck of the woods, there's probably a Harbor Freight nearby, and they probably have some things that would ease your pain until the storm passes... everything from contractor-grade trash bags for cleanup to Kevlar sleeves and long-cuff oil-resistant gloves for more serious cleanup.

What you need in an emergency depends, of course, on the nature of the emergency. A tornado might have you looking for a tent, and a chemical spill might have you scrambling for respirators, but mostly what we mean when we talk about home emergencies is a long-term power outage and all the challenges that cascade downhill from that. That's mostly what we're addressing in our list of Harbor Freight tools and supplies to get you through. What we are decidedly not talking about is a 12-piece emergency survival kit, useful if you find yourself trapped in a series of children's novels from the 1940s and you have to live in a boxcar. That's long-term disaster preparedness addressed in the most useless fashion. What you're trying to do is probably more like staying warm and keeping the half-and-half from spoiling.

Having power when the power's out

When your lights go off because of a power outage, that usually becomes your top priority. Harbor Freight's Predator 3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator will eliminate most of your pain. At $799.99, it's the kind of purchase you might wince at, but you might need this amount of power for your home. Think about what happens in an outage: The lights go off, someone throws a video game controller, and at least two adults suddenly and inexplicably shout, "Don't open the refrigerator!" You need to keep your food from spoiling, but the average refrigerator uses around 780 watts. Add a chest freezer at 350 watts, some lights, and maybe a freestanding AC, and before long you're beyond the capacity of cheaper generators. This Predator model, which actually runs at 3000 watts, will power your fridge for 11 hours. It has an electric start, wheels, and carbon monoxide shutoff, and it's very quiet. Look into what size generator your household needs for power outage readiness to be sure it's the right one.

You're also going to need a heavy-duty extension cord like the Vanguard 50 ft. x 10/3 Gauge Triple Tap Extension Cord to get all that power into your house. You'll get a lot of mileage out of rechargeable lights with built-in power banks for charging your phone or tablet, like Braun's Waterproof LED Lantern or Waterproof LED Flashlight. You can also get a freestanding power bank like the Armstrong 10,000 mAh Power Bank.

Staying warm, dry, and clean

As important as it is to protect your leftovers, for much of the year, staying warm is why you should consider getting an emergency generator... and a heater. You won't do much better than the Bauer 30,000 – 60,000 BTU Forced Air Propane Portable Heater ($99.99), which can deliver propane heat to 1,350 square feet for 10 hours on a 20-pound propane tank. The only downside is that you'll have to be somewhere besides your house while you're enjoying it, since indoor use presents a serious carbon monoxide hazard. Use it in conjunction with a powerful can for air exchange, and don't ever operate it without a carbon monoxide detector handy. If you do want to stay warm inside your home, consider covering doors and windows with Franklin Grommeted Moving Blankets ($13.99 each), which can be mounted with screws, nails, or hooks. For portable warmth, consider a 10-pack of Hot Hands Hand Warmers ($4.27).

Since you might not be getting a lot of laundry or personal hygiene tasks accomplished for a few days, we heartily recommend a bucket of Toolbox Big Grip Blue Shop Towels ($16.99). They're incredibly strong and absorbent, and can go a long way in an emergency. For heavier-duty cleaning, instead of the strong, disposable blue towels, we're recommending comparatively low-quality but inexpensive white cotton shop towels ($12.99 for 50). This is also a good time to have some DIY reusable "paper" towels on hand.